National Case Archive

2017-18 — 2016-17 — 2015-16 — 2014-15 — 2013-14 — 2012-13

Regional Case Archive

2017-18 — 2016-17 — 2015-16 — 2014-15 — 2013-14 — 2012-13

Case Index: 2012-2017

Search our new index for topics or keywords to find cases from past NHSEB case sets that will be relevant to your needs! Many thanks to Lena Cohen for her work on this helpful index.

YEARCASE SET CASE #CASE TITLECASE SUMMARYKEYWORDS
2017-2018Regional1Bodily Identity Integrity DisorderJewel Shuping has BIID and has always wanted to be blind. BIID is a rare condition characterized by a conflict between a person's actual, physical body and their idea of how their body should be. Is it in the interest of someone with BIID to give them the body modification they want? If they are at serious risk of harming themselves, should doctors perform these modifications? Do BIID patients harm themselves by going through these modifications? self-harm, BIID, doctors' obligations to patients, severe body modification, health, mental health, autonomy, self-ownership, bioethics, harm, IEB, intercollegiate ethics bowl, disability
2017-2018Regional2Best Man or Worst Man?Bijan's best friend Mike is getting married. Bijan does not like his friend's fiancŽ and is unsure whether he should tell Mike about these feelings. If Bijan doesn't confront Mike, is he to blame for anything? What is the morally best way for Bijan to confront Mike if he chooses to? If Bijan shares his feelings, how should or could Mike feel about them?duty to friends, marriage, friendship, relationship, obligation, truth, uncertainty, personal, honesty, omission, deception, silence
2017-2018Regional3What Morals Should Drive Driverless Cars?Many are excited about driverless cars but a variety of moral questions arise as they are created and improved upon. What moral principles should we use to guide driverless cars in unexpected dangerous situations? If driverless cars are safer than human drivers, should we continue to allow human drivers at all? driverless cars, Trolley Problem, autonomy, driving, new technology, utilitarianism, safety, freedom
2017-2018Regional4Breed-Specific LegislationBSL refers to legislation or policy that bans or restricts certain breeds of dogs that are purported to be more aggressive. People that support BSL think that it will help to reduce dog attacks, while opponents of BSL think that it is unjustified. Is BSL morally permissible? If this kind of discrimination is morally wrong when applied to humans, is it wrong to apply it to animals? Are some versions of BSL more morally acceptable than others?animal ethics, discrimination, moral status of animals, bioethics, genetic discrimination, law, policy, danger, harm, aggressive dogs
2017-2018Regional5School ChoiceGilbert and Anne are getting ready to send their son to kindergarten, but they are conflicted about whether to send him to a new public charter school or to a traditional public school. The charter school seems to offer many more advantages, but Gilbert and Anne know that if they send Fred to the charter school, the traditional public school system will lose some funding as a result. They very much value a strong public education system and don't want to be implicated in harming it individually or systemically. Is it morally appropriate for them to put their child's interests over the interests of other children? children, education, public school, charter school, parenting, utilitarianism, principle, avoiding harm, social structures, social trends, social justice
2017-2018Regional6The Case of the Missing Serial NumberCora was excited about the new bike she found on Craig's List for a great price, but six months after purchasing it a bike mechanic points out that the serial number has been scraped off. Cora worries that this means the bike is probably stolen, and she no longer has information about the Craig's List seller. Should she report the bike to the police and potentially lose it if someone has reported it stolen? Did she do anything wrong? What should Cora do? theft, uncertainty, restitution, bikes, Craig's List, anonymity, value, neglect, responsibility, unintended harm, intention, crime
2017-2018Regional7Smokers Need Not ApplyTobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the US but prevalence of smoking is decreasing. However, this decline is not equal across various groups within the US. For several reasons, some employers are adopting anti-tobacco hiring policies, especially in healthcare settings. These policies disproportionately affect minority groups that have relatively higher smoking rates. Is it morally permissible to discriminate on the basis of tobacco use? How much control should employers have over (potential) employees' lives?social justice, healthcare, bioethics, hiring, employment, policy, anti-tobacco, autonomy, paternalism, discrimination, health insurance, wellness, productivity, hospitals, clinics, minorities, smoking, choice, representation, addiction, medical costs
2017-2018Regional8The CullIn 2015, Ann Arbor, MI implemented a deer cull in an effort to reduce car accidents, mitigate damage to local flora, and to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease. Those who oppose the cull argue that these are not important enough to merit the cost of the cull or the killing of innocent animals. When, if ever, do benefits to humans outweigh harms to non-human animals like deer? Is culling the most humane way to address overpopulation?animals, civilization, conservation, habitat, nature, population control, benefits, harms, overpopulation, non-human vs. human, environmental ethics, safety
2017-2018Regional9Questions of LoyaltyThe Prime Minister of Singapore recently criticized citizens who would leave Singapore at the drop of a hat in times of hardship or for better opportunities. He argued that they have a debt to the nation for all the benefits they had enjoyed through citizenship. Do we have moral duties to contribute to our nation? What is morally good or morally bad about having a sense of loyalty to country?Singapore, loyalty, patriotism, brain drain, nation, national identity, freedom of movement, autonomy, community, cosmopolitanism, duty, debts, belonging, states, immigration, emigration
2017-2018Regional10Appearances at the OfficeMaria's parents think that she would be more respected and appreciated at her new job if she bought new clothes and spent more time and money on her appearance. Maria has little interest in and money for this. She also resents the gender roles that govern workplace politics and expectations. But she does want recognition for her work. Should Maria follow her parent's advice? How far is it appropriate for an individual to go when modifying their behavior to follow norms they consider unjust?gender, equality, work, respect, recognition, style, grooming, clothes, women, men, inequality, reputation, employment, autonomy, freedom, expression, authority, implicit expectations, social justice, workplace, social norms
2017-2018Regional11Science UnfairValentina and Gerald are paired up for a science project, but Gerald is uninterested and unprepared. Valentina does not want to jeopardize her grade so she asks Gerald not to contribute anything significant to the project and he consents. Is academic laziness ethically problematic? What if Gerald wants to contribute to the project? Should the teacher know about this agreement?school, assignment, collaboration, laziness, responsibility, grades, student, teacher, honesty, fairness, desert
2017-2018Regional12Contributing to GentrificationDave wants to move into an up-and-coming urban neighborhood but is concerned that he will contribute to gentrification and the displacement of established residents and communities. Assuming that gentrification does directly cause displacement, should Dave feel guilty if he chooses to move into this neighborhood? Does anyone have a right to live in a particular neighborhood?gentrification, economic disparity, change, individual vs. group, right to housing, social justice, urban politics, urban renewal, community, race
2017-2018Regional13Losing Admission to HarvardHarvard recently rescinded several students' admission due to their posting inappropriate content on social media. Should students' social media presence play a role in the college admissions process? Should offensive social media use lead to rescinding admission? If so, how should we decide what is offensive enough? And how should the line between public and private social media be drawn?education, punishment, free speech, social media, technology, privacy, offensive speech, hate speech, university
2017-2018Regional14HR ConfidentialA HR representative knows an employee of their company has a record of reports of sexual harassment and is seeking employment at a friend's company. Should the HR employee illegally inform their friend of information that they would not otherwise have access to? Is it acceptable to violate company rules to bring about a morally desirable outcome? Is it fair to alter behavior towards someone accused of something even if they aren't found guilty?uncertainty, sexual harassment, accusation vs. guilt, professional integrity, knowledge vs. belief, interpersonal obligations, workplace, employment, gender
2017-2018Regional15Sperm of the DeadA recent widow wants to have a child with her deceased husband's sperm. Some of his family members are uneasy about this and argue that she does not own or have a right to his sperm. Husband and wife had previously agreed that they would like to have a child together. How relevant should their prior conversations be in this decision? How relevant should his family's opinion be? Would it make a difference if her husband's religious beliefs precluded organ donation after death?reproduction, marriage, tissue rights, organ donation, family rights and obligations, agency after death, children, consent, reproductive, bioethics
2016-2017Regional1Virtual and Augmented RealityVirtual reality technology allows users to experience an immersive virtual world while augmented reality allows for "enhanced" experiences. Does replacing real experiences with virtual experiences involve a loss of value, even if the virtual experience creates equally real emotions? What is the value of "real" experience? Is there a morally relevant difference between virtual and augmented reality?reality, value of real experiences, benefits of the real world vs. simulations, loss in authenticity
2016-2017Regional2A hoodwink and a nudge?Using "nudge marketing," companies subconsciously influence the behavior of customers, sometimes for the sake of profit and other times for the sake of the customer's health and wellbeing. Is it moral for business or individuals to use nudge marketing to create a happier, healthier society? Are "nudges" an unavoidable aspect of life or a violation of personal autonomy?nudge marketing, autonomy, manipulation, ends vs. means, consequentialism v. deontology
2016-2017Regional3Working while sickKate, a server at a fast food restaurant, catches the flu and is unsure of what to do. Her employer does not offer paid sick leave and she cannot afford to take a day off without pay. If she goes to work, she risks infecting her coworkers and customers and damaging the reputation of the business. What determines whether a worker is morally permitted to work while sick?paid sick leave, infectious disease ethics, sickness, work, employee, company
2016-2017Regional4Banning religious garbSupporters of various French bans of religious garb argue that the laws promote national unity, decrease security risks, and protect Muslim women from oppression. Opponents argue that these bans unfairly target Muslims and infringe upon individual rights of freedom of expression and religion. When, if ever, is banning religious garb morally justified? Does wearing certain types of religious garb oppress women? religion, discrimination, safety of society vs. individual rights, assimilation, female oppression, secularism, freedom of expression
2016-2017Regional5Family and politicsRachel wants to talk to her 5 and 10 year old niece and nephew about politics. She wants to make the world a better place through politics and believes their father holds harmful, extremist views. What moral rules govern the political education of children? How much control should parents have over the process? At what age does it become appropriate to discuss politics with children?talking about politics, children, parents, family relationships, extremism, brainwashing, political activism, political influence, one-sided information, good intentions
2016-2017Regional6Public and private charitySupporters of entitlement programs ("public charity") believe they provide essential services that protect vulnerable populations while critics argue they violate the values of limited government and individual autonomy. What is the value of charitable donations that are coerced? Are public or private charities more effective? Do people have the right to be helped in some situations? Should each individual be fully in control of how to help others?welfare, entitlement, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment, positive rights, charity, limited government, individual autonomy, benefit to society, debt, coercion, mandated charity, dependence, personal sacrifice, public v. private, moral development, taxes, donations
2016-2017Regional7Suffering catSydney wants to own a Munchkin cat, a cat with dwarfism. Munchkin cats can experience a lot of pain and suffering. She tries for two years to adopt an existing Munchkin cat and eventually considers buying from a breeder. Is it morally permissible to breed, sell, or purchase Munchkin cats? Is it morally permissible to post pictures of the cat online if it motivates others to buy Munchkin cats as well?animal rights, breeding, pain, cats, pet adoption, disabled animals, health problems, discrimination, disability, responsible spending, ethical consumerism
2016-2017Regional8Tobacco 21Given the health and societal benefits, should the government change the age at which citizens can purchase tobacco to 21? Should happen to people between 18 and 21 be "grandfathered" into the law? At what age can individuals make decisions for themselves? smoking, tobacco, age, decisions, government, autonomy, addiction, health, healthcare, medical costs, choice
2016-2017Regional9Listen to the musicIs it wrong for Frankie to listen to the music of her favorite band if their lead singer regularly makes sexist comments in interviews, donates to political organizations she believes are harmful to women, and recently pleaded guilty to criminal harassment of his ex-wife? Can you separate the music from the musician?music, musician, art, artist, personal beliefs, sexism, political donations, economic support, social support
2016-2017Regional10Armed policeGiven that police violence disproportionately affects Black people, should police departments take away many of their guns? Do the good effects of disarming police outweigh the bad?police, police brutality, race, violence, systematic racism, safety, access to guns, crime, dangerous jobs, risky jobs, public safety, weapons
2016-2017Regional11Contraception controversyIt the birth control mandate of the ACA a violation of religious liberty or a necessary component of full and equal healthcare? Should the religious beliefs of business owners' supersede those of employees?contraception, birth control, Obamacare, religious rights, insurance, religious liberty, life begins at conception, unborn, government, companies, health, women's health, bodily autonomy,
2016-2017Regional12White Privilege IISince he benefits from being a white person in hip hop, how should Macklemore get involved in anti-racist activism and the Black Lives Matter movement? Do celebrities and people who benefit from systems of oppression have a stronger obligation to advocate around certain issues?white privilege, Black Lives Matter, obligation to support causes, activism, advocacy, helpful vs. harmful participation, marginalized communities, oppression, identity, profit from activism, role of white allies, celebrity, musician, artist, singer, rap, hip hop, race, racism
2016-2017Regional13Toastmaster disasterWas it ethical for Anne and Richard to pay a ghost writer to write their wedding toast for their sister? Does the quality and content of the purchased toast affect the morality? Should Anne and Richard tell their sister they bought the toast?family, authenticity, honesty, relationships, ghost writing, good intentions, ends v. means, pay, money, authorship, plagiarism, ownership of work, credit, lying
2016-2017Regional14Donor babiesWhen, if ever, is it morally permissible to bring a child into existence so they can donate tissue to somebody else? Does this cheapen the perceived value of human life, even if they are loved as much as other babies? bioethics, using people as means to an end, tissue donation, donor, painful medical procedure, save life, parents, baby, abortion, selfish reasons for having children, value of human life
2016-2017Regional15Online privacyCISPA and CISA are laws that call for government agencies and businesses to share information about cybersecurity threats with one another and provide liability protection to private companies that share cyber threat indicators with the government. When is it morally acceptable for companies to share user information? When can the government infringe online privacy rights?privacy rights, surveillance of private citizens, internet, cybersecurity, public safety, government, business, online privacy, information, abuse, consumers, cyber threats, intelligence, security, voluntary information sharing
2016-2017Regional16Moral offsettingCan you balance harms that you cause by donating to charities that address those harms? When is moral offsetting appropriate and inappropriate?self-sacrifice, harm, more good than bad, moral obligation, charity, donation, money, good actions cancel bad actions, consumer behavior, ethical consumerism, personal behavior
2016-2017National1In it for the likes?Is it okay for Leah to make political posts on Facebook and attend protests for self-interested reasons, like impressing people? She cares about the issues for their own sake, but if she had no self-interested reason to engage in political activity, her overall engagement would decline.motives, self-interest, political activism, motivations, good actions, social media, social justice, protests
2016-2017National2Contributing to overpopulationIf current population trends are unsustainable, what does this mean for our individual procreative choices? Do we have a moral duty to limit how many children we have to address overpopulation?individual responsibility, children, parents, overpopulation, environment, global community, do individual choices make a difference, collective responsibility
2016-2017National3Hope for the best or plan for the worst?When Patrick's family is in a very bad financial situation, he puts on a brave face and tells his family that everything will be okay, knowing that his message is overly optimistic. His message of hope helps his family cope, but is it active deception or a morally permissible, if not required, part of caring for his family?family, lie, lying, false beliefs, optimism, faith, deception, good consequences, ends justify means, deceiving others v. oneself, pessimism, hope
2016-2017National4Up and downNaloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. Is naloxone enabling opioid addicts, and if so, do the harms outweigh the benefits? When it comes to drug policies, is it more morally important to promote the wellbeing of drug users or reduce rates of drug use?addiction, drugs, medication, accessibility, access, policy, overdose, opioid epidemic, personal responsibility, benefits v. harms, bioethics, harm reduction
2016-2017National5Taking care of parentsCharlotte is a college senior with a high-paying job waiting for her after she graduates. As they age, her extremely supportive grandparents ask her to provide for her financially irresponsible mother. To what degree is Charlotte obligated to financially support her mother? To what degree is she obligated to obey her grandparents' wishes?family obligations, filial obligation, loyalty, parents, grandparents, help, independence, responsibility, family needs, relationships
2016-2017National6Drone strikesAre drone strikes ethical, given that they save the lives of American soldiers, but can also make military personnel too cavalier about taking life. Is it morally better or worse to engage in violence remotely rather than in person?drones, war, soldiers, violence, killing, conflict zones, Americans vs. non-Americans, psychological trauma
2016-2017National7Teaching all sidesShould a high school teacher in a class that studies many controversial subjects teach all sides of every issue or favor some sides over others? Should she use her own judgement, teach all sides of public opinion, or defer to experts and scientists? What questions can she treat as open and what questions should she teach as closed?teacher, bias, public opinion, controversy, civic responsibility, authority figure, position of power, opinions, politics, education
2016-2017National8Nonhuman animals in biomedical researchBiomedical experiments often use nonhuman animals as test subjects. This can lead to important scientific advances but exposes research subjects to injury/death without the possibility of consent. How should we compare the value of scientific knowledge with the wellbeing of nonhuman research subjects?bioethics, animal rights, value of scientific knowledge, research, consent, costs v. benefits
2016-2017National9Standing up to hateSam goes over to their friend Jake's house for dinner, where Jake's father and brother make hateful, bigoted comments. Should Sam confront them and stand up to hate or stay silent because it is not Sam's place?bigotry, friends, family, relationships, respect elders, politeness, racism, sexism, homophobia, manners, role as guest, hate, intolerance, activism, justice
2016-2017National10Dirty handsLisa is a mechanical engineer whose only job offer is at a company involved in military technology. As a committed pacifist, she is conflicted about whether she should turn down the job to keep her conscience clean or accept the job to prevent a non-pacifist from taking the job.personal values, principles, obligation to make world a better place, compromise values, self-interest, job, career
2016-2017National11Gender and sportsShould there be such a binary division between men's and women's sports competitions? How should trans or nonbinary people enter competitions?gender, gender differences, sports, natural abilities, gender identity, transgender, nonbinary, athletes, competitive advantages, divide, sex reassignment
2016-2017National12Stuck in loveSarah and Chris were happily married until Chris became a paraplegic after a tragic climbing accident. Since then, their interests have diverged and Sarah no longer feels happy. Is there something morally bad about leaving your partner as a result of this kind of development? Is Sarah blameworthy for feeling unfulfilled?love, marriage, commitment, disability, break promise, vows, sickness, divorce, happiness, fulfillment
2016-2017National13Risky moral decisionsAn overseer at a large coal mine must decide who to save after an accident: a large group with a low chance of successful rescue or a small group with a high chance of successful rescue. What should he do? Is it morally problematic to make calculations with human lives?hypothetical, saving life, accident, rescue, assessing value of human lives
2016-2017National14Responsibility for implicit biasShould we blame people for having or acting on implicit biases, and if so how much? How should the fact that implicit biases are so widespread influence what we think about them?racism, implicit bias, moral responsibility, awareness, prejudice, blame, explicit vs. implicit bias, negative consequences
2016-2017National15Tip of the icebergThe only way for Erica, a waiter and primary bread-winner, to make ends meet for her family is to not report her tips as income to the IRS. Is stealing justified in this situation? Are we less morally responsible for lying, cheating, or stealing if our economic circumstances coerce us into doing so?taxes, stealing, economic circumstances, poverty, illegal activities justified, desperate times, steal out of necessity, coercion
2016-2017National16Almost kiss and tellJuan almost cheats on his girlfriend Julia but then doesn't for lack of opportunity. Is it morally permissible to keep this information from Julia? What constitutes cheating on a partner?love, cheating, relationships, commitment, honesty, trust
2016-2017National17The cases for and against reparationsShould Black Americans receive reparations for slavery and/or continuing discrimination? Does a person need to have cause a harm in order to be morally accountable for that harm, or is it enough that they benefit for the legacy of that harm?justice, equality, discrimination, racism, slavery, reparations, financial restitution, blame, government, accountability, punishment
2015-2016Regional1Too Young to Vote?Given that minors are directly affected by political decisions, should the voting age be lowered to 16? On what should the right to vote depend? voting, age, difference between adults and minors, rights, democracy
2015-2016Regional2Selecting for DeafnessA deaf couple decides to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis to select for a deaf child so they can be in a better position to parent the child. Is it morally wrong to select for a disability? Are they harming their child if the alternative is that embryo remains frozen?bioethics, disability and wellbeing, family, children, obligation, health
2015-2016Regional3Ice Water EthicsThe ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" raised millions of dollars for ALS research but drew criticism for encouraging "slacktivism." Furthermore, ALS is much rarer and more difficult to treat than diseases like malaria. Is it unethical for a charity to solicit more donations than it needs or for donors to give to charities when the money could be better used elsewhere?slacktivism, activism, moral licensing, donations, charity, allocation of resources, disease, social media, demands of morality
2015-2016Regional4A For-Profit 21st Century SchoolAltSchool is a for-profit school AND tech company. It collects data on enrolled students for research and the development of operating system for education that it will market to schools. However, this technology may further inequality since it is too expensive for many schools. Should schools partner with tech companies? Should schools conduct research on students?purpose of education, profit, business, research, experimental learning, new technology, inequality, access to education, corporate partnerships
2015-2016Regional5Reacting to Racist ChantsDuring a match, a black soccer play responds to racist chants with an "unpleasant gesture." He was suspended for two matches and the area where the most vocal fans sit was closed. Are athletes obligated to act professionally in the face of racist chants? Is it fair to punish a large number of fans because of the actions of a few? group punishment, racism, athlete, celebrity, higher standard of behavior, apologies, public, reaction, race
2015-2016Regional6Fire at the LouvreShould the curator of a burning art museum risk his life to rescue anything? If so, he can either save the Mona Lisa or an unconscious museum visitor. How does the value of art and a person compare?value of art, value of human life, culture, rescue, risk life, save, hypothetical
2015-2016Regional7Technology's GraveyardsMillions of tons of electronics are discarded each year and end up in developing nations, where they hurt the environment. Is it morally permissible for nations to sell potentially hazardous e-waste to willing buyers in developing nations? Do manufacturers have a moral obligation to create products with longer lifespans, even if they would earn less money as a result? How should manufacturers, governments, and consumers solve this problem?environment, pollution, perceived obsolescence, waste, law, government, global problem, developed and developing nations, ethical consumerism
2015-2016Regional8Reporting on a ScandalThe editor of the high school's newspaper learns that a community service group has not functioned according to school rules: they awarded service hours in exchange for money raised. The leader of the club expresses regret and asks the editor not to publish the allegations because they will hurt his chances of college admission. How should the editor weigh her journalistic responsibilities against a student's right to privacy?journalism, truth vs. individuals' right to privacy, reputation, mistake, professional obligation, abuse of system, cheating, community service, fundraising, newspaper, private citizens v. public citizen
2015-2016Regional9"Don't Help Me!"Tom has been twice cited for underage drinking and if he receives one more citation, he will lose his much-needed scholarship to college. While drinking with Kevin, Tom badly cuts his hand and then asks Kevin not to call for help. Should Kevin call for help or defer to Tom's judgement?blame, friendship, informed decision, alcohol, guilt
2015-2016Regional10Feeding Cover-UpShould nursing mothers have to cover themselves while breastfeeding in public places? When should business owners have a right to control the types of behaviors, like breastfeeding, that are allowed in their businesses?breastfeeding, public, nudity, natural behaviors, offend, business owner rights
2015-2016Regional11Transgender and MedicaidShould transgender care be covered under Medicare and Medicaid? Is there a morally relevant difference between treatment of gender dysphoria and other physical conditions? How does the morality of a cis and trans women's desire to have breast implants differ?transgender, gender identity, medical treatment, tax dollars, cosmetic procedures, healthcare, insurance, medical resources, societal expectations, physical appearance, private v. public insurance
2015-2016Regional12Ban the BoxIs it morally permissible for employers to ask about criminal history on an application? Is it morally permissible for the state to prevent employers from asking about criminal history on an application?
rights of private employers, criminal history, criminal justice, additional punishment, job, hire, former prisoners, ex-convicts, paid debt to society, race
2015-2016Regional13Paying a Ransom to Save Your FamilyThe US has a strict policy of not paying ransoms for hostages because it incentivizes the taking of hostages and funds terrorism. Is it morally justifiable the government to enforce this policy on private citizens who try to pay ransoms? Is it immoral for families to pay ransoms?terrorism, hostage, ransom, family, policy, role of government, private citizens, individuals
2015-2016Regional14Swimming for FreeAngel works full time but struggles to make ends meet, and Mark attends an expensive private college. Is it morally permissible for Angel to use his friend Mark's school ID to swim in the pool for free?stealing, need, victimless crime, inequality, theft, deceit, deception
2015-2016Regional15The Modern Debtors' PrisonPeople from underprivileged socio-economic backgrounds are sometimes arrested and jailed for failure to pay their legal fees or fines for low-level offenses. Under what circumstances is it morally permissible to put people in jail for failing to pay their debts? How does the fact that those imprisoned tend to be undereducated minorities who are in some cases suffering from mental illness?debt, imprisonment, fines, equity, justice, deterrent, financial status, equal treatment under the law, marginalized people, harsh penalties, racism
2015-2016National1VT VaccineAmidst growing concern about undermining herd immunity, Vermont banned the use of philosophical, but not religious, exemption to the vaccination requirement for public school students. Do parents have a moral duty to vaccinate their kids? Is there a morally significant difference between deeply held secular and religious beliefs?religion, secularism, vaccines, public school requirements, parental rights, health, disease, mandatory vaccinations, religious freedom
2015-2016National2Prison WorkMany states make use of work prisons where prisoners "volunteer" to work and then receive a wage. Does this constitute exploitation of prisoners or is it necessary to reduce the high cost of the criminal justice system and help prisoners gain work skills? Is it ethical for a private company to pay workers in prison less than workers outside prison? Is it ethical for private companies to earn a profit from prison labor?coerced choice v. free choice, private prisons, prison labor, modern slavery, punishment, crime, criminal justice, inequality, race
2015-2016National3Religion at the HospitalAn emergency room physician, Betsy, knows that one of her patients, Steve, is going to die in the next day or so. Steve is not religious in any way and Betsy believes that unless people have faith, they will suffer eternal damnation. The hospital has a rule against medical professionals trying to spread their faith among patients, but Betsy believes the importance of Steve's eternal wellbeing outweighs the importance of hospital rules.religion, proselytizing, faith, heaven, hell, belief, ethical beliefs v. professional obligation, abuse of power, discussing religion
2015-2016National4Let Them Eat Cake?Some bakeries have refused to make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings because their religious beliefs prohibit them from taking part in the celebration. If a private business owner refuses to sell a product to people because they plan to use it in a ceremony they religiously disapprove of, are they engaging in discrimination? secularism, religion, discrimination, gay marriage, religious freedom, sexual orientation, religious rights of private businesses
2015-2016National5Warning, Warning, Don't Read All About It!Students have started to demand trigger warnings about potentially traumatizing material in the classroom. Critics of trigger warnings claim they threaten free speech as well as the role of higher education to train students to challenge their beliefs. Proponents argue that trigger warnings create a safe, supportive environment for students to learn more effectively. role of education, trigger warnings on the internet v. education, free speech, hypersensitivity, trauma, PTSD, moral obligation
2015-2016National6Family SecretsSybil shared many intimate stories (including ones about drug use and mental health issues) about her family members in her successful memoir recounting her difficult childhood. Her sister accuses her of violating her right to privacy and damaging her reputation. How does the value of writing a memoir weigh against values associated with friendship, family, privacy?substance abuse, depression, art, family, writing about sister v. parents, ownership of personal stories, right to privacy
2015-2016National7Acting UnnaturallyA struggling minority actor is offered a major part in a new sitcom. He will have many lines in what will likely be a hit show, but his character would essentially be acting out racial stereotypes for easy laughs. Should he accept the role?diversity, media, non-white actors, minorities, racist stereotypes, job, personal values, principles, race, compromise, career
2015-2016National8Climate DebtDeveloped nations are disproportionately responsible for climate change while developing nations are most vulnerable to its effects. Do developed nations have a moral obligation to do much more than developing nations to address climate change? To what extent to individual countries have a moral obligation to not cause harm to other countries?moral responsibility for actions of ancestors, international competition, global warming, response to climate change, reparations, greenhouse gasses, carbon emissions
2015-2016National9Cultural ArtifactsISIS is destroying history and profiting by attacking cultural heritage sites and looting antiquities. Is the US coalition doing enough to protect the country's cultural artifacts from ISIS? Are we morally required to preserve cultural artifacts? Are we morally permitted to purchase stolen cultural artifacts?cultural artifacts, terrorism, ISIS, ISIL, surveillance, air strikes, ethical consumerism, looting, cultural cleansing, heritage sites, stolen antiquities market
2015-2016National10Unpaid ItemJake, a busy college student, realizes at home that the grocery store forgot to charge him for a 24-case of bottled water. Given that it was the grocer's mistake, is Jake morally obligated to go back and pay for the item? How would the case be different at a small independent store versus a big chain store? What if the item cost several hundred dollars?stealing, theft, victimless crime, mistake, free item, shopping
2015-2016National11See Something, Say SomethingAt the airport, Susan (who fears Muslim extremists) notices a man in a turban acting suspiciously. Should she ignore him given her own biases and the fact that she may not have noticed him if he had been dressed differently, or should she err on the side of caution and say something? Is racial, ethnic, or religious profiling ever morally permissible?profiling, bias, discrimination, safety, anti-Muslim bias, security, terrorism, racism, Islamophobia, threat, airplane
2015-2016National12Shame on YouSome are using social pressure in the form of "fat shaming" to address the obesity epidemic in America. Critics worry these campaigns will promote negative attitudes about people who appear overweight. How should we weigh the good and bad effects of fat shaming? Is there a moral difference between a comedian engaging in fat shaming and a hospital doing so?moral obligation not to offend, political correctness, free speech, obesity, overweight, fat, skinny, body image, social criticism, public health concerns, stigmatization
2015-2016National13Whose Photo Is It Anyway?Popular visual artist Richard Prince combined screenshots of Instagram pictures uploaded by famous and unknown users with his own comments and sold this piece for $90,000. Since Prince did not get users' permission to use their photos, his piece raises legal and ethical questions about art and ownership.appropriation, ownership, art, "New Portraits," digital age, social media, privacy, wealth, photography, permission, compensation, profit, public
2015-2016National14What's Your Age Again?Aubrey, a 19 year old, accidentally goes on a date with a 14-year-old who lied about her age when Aubrey asked. Given that the 14-year-old looked young in her dating profile, did Aubrey have a moral obligation to ask for proof of her age? How much caution should Aubrey have to take in his dating life?online dating, age, age of consent, lying about age, gender, relationships, internet, deception, minors
2015-2016National15Support for ParisIn the aftermath of the 2015 Paris terrorist attack, many around the world expressed strong support for Paris. On the same day as the Paris attacks, there were suicide bombings in Beirut and Baghdad that received relatively little global attention. Is it unreasonable for Americans to express support for Paris but not for Beirut or Baghdad? selective outrage, grieving, terrorism, support on social media, global attention, suffering, priorities, media
2015-2016National16South Korea's New, Young FacesExperts attribute the high rates of plastic surgery in South Korea to beauty standards, employers that require job applicants to submit picture with their resumes, and lack of regulation of the plastic surgery industry. Can it be good for a person to get cosmetic surgery to meet an unreasonable standard of beauty?plastic surgery, cosmetics, unreasonable beauty standards, oppression, "ghost doctors," job applicants, image
2014-2015Regional1Copying HomeworkVivian asks her friend Gabriella if she can copy a worksheet for a homework assignment she forgot to do. On the one hand, the worksheet is just busy work and Gabriella wants to help her friend. On the other hand, she could get in trouble and it seems unfair to all of the students who did the homework on their own.friendship, cheating, busy work, copying, breaking rules for a friend, fairness, homework, victimless crime
2014-2015Regional2Army Hairstyles2014 updates to US Army appearance and grooming protocol prohibit hairstyles that are common among African American women. Critics called the changes racially biased while supporters claim are necessary to maintain uniformity. To what extent should the military maintain uniformity versus embrace ethnic diversity?diversity, systematic racism, dress code, uniformity, safety, soldiers, gender, professionalism, policies, discrimination, hairstyle regulation, individuality, race
2014-2015Regional3Dating a Friend's ExIn what circumstances is it morally permissible for Logan to date his close friend Alex's ex-girlfriend? Alex tells Logan pursuit of the relationship amounts to a betrayal. Is this a morally permissible reaction?dating, relationships, betrayal, love, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, friendship, gender, romance
2014-2015Regional4Immunization Programs as a Cover for Spying OperationsA polio vaccination program was used by the CIA to help gain information on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Under what circumstances is the use of humanitarian programs for ulterior purposes justified? Should governments provide aid to countries known to harbor terrorists?counter-terrorism, vaccines, public health, humanitarian aid, ulterior motives, spying, safety, trust, volunteers, counterterrorism
2014-2015Regional5Writing Your Own Letter of RecommendationUnder what conditions, if any, is it ethical to write one's own letter of recommendation?victimless crime, teacher obligations, students, lying, cheating, exaggeration, college admission
2014-2015Regional6Heart Attack GrillHeart Attack Grill sells extremely unhealthy food, but is honest about how bad the food is for one's health. Should owner Jon Basso continue to operate the Heart Attack Grill after 2 regular customers died of heart attacks? Do people have the right to eat whatever food they want, even if it kills them?public health, obesity, freedom, honesty, business rights, free market economy, well-being of consumers, free choice, paternalism
2014-2015Regional7Blocking the Uninsured From RefuelingIn the U.K., closed circuit television will be used to block uninsured motorists from refueling. This technology (automatic number plate recognition) is already used on toll roads. Advocates of this system argue it will benefit those who have accidents with uninsured drivers while critics claim it violates privacy of drivers.technology, invasion of privacy, surveillance, law enforcement, mandatory insurance, tracking, recording
2014-2015Regional8Hurricane Katrina and Dr. PouDuring Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Pou injected several hospital patients with sedatives to ease their pain and focus on evacuating healthier patients. Did Dr. Pou do the right thing in hastening the death of some of her patients during Katrina? Whose life should doctors prioritize during emergency situations?informed consent, Do Not Resuscitate orders, prioritization, bioethics, emergency situations, survival, death, duty of physician, standards of care during crisis
2014-2015Regional9Lying to ParentsNoah's parents are morally opposed to drinking but Noah, age 21, occasionally drinks a little. Should Noah lie to his parents about his drinking, given that telling the truth will be detrimental to their relationship and may cause his parents to withdraw their financial support for him?moral permissibility of lying, family, children, ends justify means, truth, honesty, alcohol, obligations of adult child to parents
2014-2015Regional10World Cup ControversyWas it ethical for the Brazilian government to host the World Cup, when some of the public funds used could have been spent providing much-needed social services to its own impoverished citizens?government priorities, sports, soccer, athletic competitions, wealth, obligation to help those less fortunate, affluence, tourism, extreme poverty, international events, development, wealthy vs. poor nations
2014-2015Regional11Drunken RacismWhile drinking with her friends, Molly goes on a racist, hateful rant. The next day, Molly says her drunken statements are not reflective of her true self. To what extent is Molly blameworthy for her drunken behavior? Can we be blameworthy for bad thoughts that are unexpressed? moral responsibility, racism, apology, alcohol, blame, drunken behavior, unexpressed thoughts, hate speech, race
2014-2015Regional12Eating for FreeMilan is fired from her restaurant job for making herself free food when the restaurant closes at night. She did so because her manager and close friend Kai sometimes gave her permission to do so and she knew the leftover food was thrown away. What constitutes stealing? What moral obligations do managers have to subordinates who are also their friends?stealing, friendship, relationships, employee, breaking unfair rules, employer responsibilities, free meals, theft, victimless crime
2014-2015Regional13Anti-Depressants For Mentally-Ill AnimalsWhat responsibility do humans have to treat mental illness in non-human animals? Given that animals cannot "consent" to taking drugs, is giving them psychiatric drugs immoral?animal rights, mental illness, healthcare, consent, depression, drugs, treatment
2014-2015Regional14Photo-Shop FictionIf photo-shopping has negative psychological effects and misleads consumers, to what extent should the government regulate photo-shop in advertising? Does regulation of photo-shop intrude on a business's right to freedom of speech and expression?deception, free speech, limits of free speech, self-esteem, false-advertising, government regulation, cosmetics, retouching images, body image disorders, photoshop
2014-2015Regional15Violence Against BulliesAaron is bullied by Ryan, who makes fun of his family, interests, and racial background but never physically hurts him. Is it morally permissible for Aaron to punch Ryan? Do the consequences of the punch (i.e.. if it succeeds in stopping the bullying) affect its justification?bullying, revenge, permissible use of violence, bystanders, standing up to injustice, protest
2014-2015National1Giving to PanhandlersVicky chooses not to give money to a homeless beggar because she worries that he will use the money to buy drugs or alcohol and wonders how he became homeless in the first place. Is her choice morally justified? What moral duties do we have to the less fortunate?charity, demands of morality, sacrifices for the well being of others, trust, homelessness, poverty
2014-2015National2Ethical ConsumerismMaria wonders whether it is morally acceptable to buy cheap products manufactured by people working for low wages in bad conditions. Are we morally obligated to ensure that none of our actions indirectly harm others?child labor, exploitation, fair trade, organic, conscientious shopping, working conditions, factories, ethical consumerism
2014-2015National3Cheerleading and DisabilityCallie joined the high school cheerleading team despite being confined to a wheelchair due to her cerebral palsy. However, the school urged her mother to sign agreement restricting her to the sidelines due to safety concerns. Is this discrimination? Do safety concerns outweigh Callie's wishes to join the cheerleading squad? disability, cheerleading, safety, school sanctioned activities, risk, discrimination, ableism, parents, ability
2014-2015National4Offensive Lyric Sing-AlongNate wants to sing along to a popular song on the radio, but realizes the song has some sexist lines. Would singing the song amount to approval of the sexist sentiments the song reflects? When is self-censorship morally appropriate?sexism, harms, singing along, self-censorship, music, art, objectionable lyrics, offensive lines, artist
2014-2015National5Gifts from Questionable DonorsMany organizations that rely on donors for funding wonder whether it is morally permissible to accept gifts from donors who acquired their resources through questionable practices or engage in immoral projects. When, if ever, should nonprofits turn down donations that could help them realize morally good ends?gifts, university, nonprofit, individual vs. organizational cases, donations, complicit, moral statement, dirty money, non-profits
2014-2015National6NFL FandomIs being a fan of the NFL football morally defensible? Critics state the NFL treats players as faceless commodities, and football is a potentially dangerous and degrading activity. Supporters stress the importance of players' consent.sports, endorsement, football, concussions, consent to dangerous activity, risk
2014-2015National7Food DesertGiven that residents in food deserts do not have access to healthy foods, do owners of stores located in food deserts have a responsibility to sell lower-cost items? Do for-profit businesses have a responsibility to maximize their community's well being?gentrification, community, business, profit, moral responsibility of companies, grocery store, fast food, income inequality, poverty
2014-2015National8G.M.'s Failure13 deaths have been linked to faulty ignition switches in G.M. cars, a problem which some employees knew about beforehand. Who should be held responsible for the deaths? When workers collaborate on a product, to what extent are individual workers responsible for addressing a moral problem? What is the moral difference between deliberate action and deliberate inaction?moral responsibility, punishment, deliberate action vs. deliberate inaction, employee vs. employer responsibility, recall, car crash, profit
2014-2015National9HIPAA and Mentally Ill Adult ChildrenHIPAA prevents family members from accessing health information about patients over 18. Some have proposed making an exception for family members of patients with serious mental illness. Should concerns about mental competency outweigh a patient's right to privacy?mental illness, disability, psychological treatment, health care, right to privacy, mental competency, family, parents
2014-2015National10Alternative Beliefs in SchoolAdministrators prevented the school newspaper from running an editorial about being an atheist at a predominantly Christian public school. Should the school be able to censor material that is not defamatory or otherwise illegal? Is religious activity on school campus morally permissible?religion, public prayer, freedom of expression, Establishment Clause, free speech, press, journalism, censorship, education, atheism, religious activity, school newspapers
2014-2015National11Breaking Subway NormsTo what extent is it permissible to talk loudly on your cell phone on an otherwise quiet subway ride? Is it appropriate to be upset over someone talking on their cell phone in public spaces? To what extent are we obligated to follow social norms?social norms, overhear, noise complaint, cell phone, public spaces, annoying behavior
2014-2015National12The Status of Animals in DenmarkFirst, a zoo in Denmark euthanized a healthy giraffe because it did not have room for it and it did not want it to spend the next 20 years suffering. Second, Denmark has outlawed ritual animal slaughter methods required by Muslim and Jewish tradition because they are inhumane. Should animal rights ever take precedence over religious rights?animal rights, religion, euthanasia, zoo animals, animals raised for consumption, slaughtering methods, kosher, halal, animal welfare
2014-2015National13Losing TraditionShould efforts be made to preserve traditional cultures in the face of globalization? How do we distinguish between a cultural practice worth saving and a practice that should be eradicated?cultural relativism, female genital mutilation, economic advancements, technological advancements, traditional practices, cultural diversity, McDonalds, Starbucks, food culture
2014-2015National14A Child's Right to DieIs a new law in Belgium that allows terminally ill children to choose euthanasia morally defensible?euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, terminal illness, pain, death, age, capacity to make decisions, right to die, additional choice
2014-2015National15BatkidThe city of San Francisco and philanthropists payed around $105,000 to fulfill the dream of a 5-year old with leukemia to be Batman for a day. Was this contribution morally permissible, given that the money could have been used elsewhere to much greater effect? Should we allocate our money to produce the greatest good for the greatest number? A case borrowed from the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl.charity, utilitarianism, donations, allocation of resources, Make-a-Wish Foundation, IEB
2013-2014Regional1One Child Too ManyUnder what conditions, if any, should a government be allowed to limit the number of children people can have? In the US, families with many kids become famous through reality TV. What is the media's responsibility in covering these stories?One-Child Policy, China, reproduction, government regulation, overpopulation, reality TV, media
2013-2014Regional2FrankenburgerShould we support the research and development of synthetic, genetically-engineered meat? It would prevent the killing of animals but hurt the animal farming industry and use animals for research.animal rights, GMO, scientific advancements, technology, test-tube meat, vegetarianism, food
2013-2014Regional3Forgiving Political Sex ScandalsGiven that several politicians involved in sex scandals have made a political comeback, do politicians need to have good moral character? Is forgiveness of sexual indiscretion a demonstration of social progress or an erosion of ethics and values?values, politics, election, public officials, personal character, affair, cheating, forgiveness
2013-2014Regional4Compensation for College AthletesGiven that college athletes provide universities with windfall profits but are not compensated except through scholarships, is the current structure of NCAA sports exploitative? Should college athletes be paid?college athletics, sports, exploitation, role of university, NCAA, paying college athletes
2013-2014Regional5Compensation for Non-ProfitsState-subsidized non-profits have been criticized for executives having annual salaries of $100,000 or more. Should non-profit executives be paid competitive salaries? Critics argue that the money should be spent on helping people, while supporters argue that for non-profits to be successful, they must be able to recruit talented workers with competitive salaries.charity, salary, non-profit sector, private sector, government regulation, overpaid executives, CEO
2013-2014Regional6Legalization of MarijuanaThe legalization of marijuana is gaining traction in some states. Supporters claim legalization will help the economy and that it is an issue of racial justice because African-Americans are disproportionately arrested for drug use. Opponents claim that legalization is a "slippery slope" that could lead to the legalization of more dangerous drugs.systematic racism, racial justice, war on drugs, government regulation, slippery slope argument, decriminalization, recreational marijuana use
2013-2014Regional7Forced FatherhoodSome men feel that they should not have to pay child support for unwanted children. Is it ethical for men to be held financially responsible for children they did not want while women have the ability to get an abortion? How should gender inequalities affect the issue of forced fatherhood?gender inequality, abortion, family, child support, income inequality, women's rights, men's rights
2013-2014Regional8Endangered Animals on the LooseWhen 56 exotic animals were set loose in Ohio, law enforcement shot and killed 49 animals, instead of using tranquilizer darts. Was this morally permissible, given that many of the animals were endangered species? Is private possession of exotic or endangered animals ethical?animal rights, endangered species, private animal collections, government regulation, safety of local citizens vs. safety of animals
2013-2014Regional9Security versus PrivacyEdward Snowden was called a hero by some and a traitor by others for revealing that the NSA was collecting private communications from unsuspecting US citizens. Is it ethical for the government to collect private communication records between U.S. citizens? Is it ethical for government employees to reveal classified information entrusted to them?whistleblower, Edward Snowden, NSA, public safety, right to privacy, surveillance, probable cause, warrant
2013-2014Regional10Indian Child Welfare ActIn a 2013 child custody case, the Supreme Court ruled that Veronica, a native American girl, should not have been taken away from her adoptive parents. Her biological father had previously sued for custody and won by invoking the Indian Child Welfare Act. Should Veronica be returned to her adoptive parents or remain with her biological father?adoption, custody disputes, rights of native American Indians, rights of adoptive parents, rights of children, Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), adoptive vs. biological parents, Cherokee, judicial system, Supreme Court case
2013-2014Regional11Deja vu: Arming Present Day FriendsIn the past, the U.S. has armed international military forces the State Department believed would advance US interests. Unfortunately, some of these weapons were later used against our own military forces. Is it ethical to arm rebels in countries we are not at war with? What criteria should be used to determine if a faction receives military aid?freedom fighters, contras, military aid, weapons, revolutionary factions, international intervention, Islamist militants
2013-2014Regional12The After PartyTom's dad was supposed to give Christine and Tom (who are dating) a ride home from a post-prom party. They cannot yet drive and are the only sober party-goers. When he picks them up, Christine notices that Tom's dad has been drinking. Christine doesn't want to disrespect an adult, but wants everyone to get home safely. What should she do?drunk driving, respect for adults, ethical standards for adults vs. teens, teenagers, party, prom, designated driver, alcohol, duty, friends, family, relationships, love, safety
2013-2014Regional13Physician-Assisted SuicideTerminally ill patients in some states can choose to die with physician-assisted suicide (PAS). Supporters argue PAS gives patients the right to die with dignity, while opponents call it a corruption of the ethical code of doctors. Under what conditions should physicians have the right to assist patients with suicide?suicide, end-of-life decisions, physician, doctor, health care, autonomy, right to die, terminal illness, death, Hippocratic Oath, incorrect diagnoses
2013-2014Regional14Conscientious ObjectionAll male US residents must register for the draft, but exemptions exist for "conscientious objectors." People can object if their religion prohibits participation in combat or they have strongly held moral objections to war. Under what circumstances, if any, should someone be able to object to military service?draft, conscription, warfare, just war, military, army, religion, secular, soldier, killing, patriotism, duty, nationalism, freedom
2013-2014Regional15Trayvon Martin and the Use of Lethal ForceThe shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager, by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, sparked a debate about racial profiling, concealed carry permits, and self-defense laws. When is it morally permissible to use deadly force against someone?racism, racial profiling, Black Lives Matter, self-defense, Stand Your Ground law, gun control, police brutality, right to bear arms, concealed carry, murder, manslaughter, jury of peers, role of attorney, role of jurors
2013-2014National1The Tradition of Segregated PromsSome Southern communities have segregated, invitation-only proms that are privately funded and organized. This is not breaking any laws, but is it morally wrong? Should schools be allowed to hold two separate proms based on race if the majority of students want it?segregation, prom, racism, party, discrimination, public vs. private, personal freedom, tradition, South, school
2013-2014National2The Last Abortion ClinicThere is only one abortion clinic left in Mississippi due to state laws regulating clinics and pro-life groups that intimidate patients at clinics. If it closes, it will become impossible for many women to exercise their legal right to abortion. Is it permissible for government funding to cover abortion procedures?abortion, bioethics, pro-life, pro-choice, law, government regulation, autonomy, women's rights,
2013-2014National3It's Just FashionKarlie Kloss, a non-Native American model, was accused of cultural appropriation when she wore a Native American headdress on a walkway. To what extent is it acceptable to wear accessories from another culture? What determines the acceptability of cultural appropriation?cultural appropriation, fashion show, celebrity, beauty, culture, stereotypes, social value of symbols
2013-2014National4The People's Pornography?David Cameron wants to restrict access to online pornography in the UK. What role should governments have in deciding if content is morally acceptable for children? Given Mr. Cameron's view that porn is morally corrosive to children, how should the UK balance the greater good against free speech and other rights?censorship, freedom, online pornography, online filter, restrictions, children, moral development, violence, objectification, government duty, free speech
2013-2014National5The Purpose of Public EducationGovernor McCrory argued against subsidizing liberal arts and humanities majors that he believes do not prepare students for jobs. Should the government subsidize majors that are most economically valuable, most fulfilling, best promote moral development, or that help build a democratic society?role of higher education, liberal arts, humanities, public university, private school, government subsidies, employment, jobs, art, literature, history, philosophy, college major, employment
2013-2014National6Gender and Sex in SchoolA transgender girl in Colorado sued the school system and won after being forced to use the boys' bathroom. Which bathroom should a transgender student be allowed to use? Should public recognition of a person's gender be determined by anatomy or personal identity?transgender, bathroom bill, HB2, school, gender identity, biological sex, right to privacy, discrimination, LGBT rights, LGBTQ
2013-2014National7Legal Personhood and the Status of Non-Human AnimalsSome animal rights groups insist that some non-human animals possess high-level cognitive abilities that entitles them to legal personhood and the associated fundamental rights. What restrictions should be placed on how we can use animals?legal personhood, rights of bodily liberty, capacity for reasoning, animal rights, Nonhuman Rights Project, animal testing, vegetarianism, meat, legal rights
2013-2014National8Caring for Adults with Severe Developmental DisabilitiesEva abandoned her developmentally disabled daughter, age 19, outside a bar and drove home. She claims that she lost her job and went into debt caring for her daughter. Do parents ever have the right to leave an adult child that needs care?disability, disabled adults, legal guardian, family, parents, care of children, legal responsibility, law for mental health rights
2013-2014National9Media Coverage of Mass MurdersIt has been argued that media coverage of the perpetrators of mass killings may instigate copycat killings. Should freedom of the press to cover mass killings be protected if it is shown that such coverage leads to more killings?freedom of the press, free speech, Colombine, Sandy Hook, First Amendment, school shooting, magazine, newspaper, media coverage, gun, shooter, mass murder, violence, news
2013-2014National10Obligations of Historical Fiction WritersTwo pieces of historical fiction portray the same historical figure very differently. Do writers of historical fiction have any obligation to represent events accurately? Is it morally wrong to depict a figure as more cruel than they really were?historical fiction, play, film, historical figures, suffering, harm after death, defamation of character, art, truthfulness, honesty
2013-2014National11Repatriating War Spoils and Cultural ArtifactsThere have been many examples of looted art in recent decades. Who has claim to cultural artifacts: researchers from all over the world, war conquerors, their original owners? Should a collector who unknowingly bought looted art return the items? art, Nazi art dealer, confiscated art, looted art, looting, war, ownership, cultural artifacts, war spoils, imperialism, cultural heritage, archeology, stolen artwork
2013-2014National12Wonder Medicine for Cancer TreatmentNick, a terminally ill patient, was denied admittance to a clinical trial that was the only means to access a potentially life-saving drug. Under what conditions is it ethical for drug companies to offer or deny drugs to patients that want them but are not eligible for the trials?compassionate use, cancer, drug company, FDA approval, scientific method, clinical trials, save life, medication, data, risk, research, open distribution of drugs
2013-2014National13State SecularismQuebec's government proposed a bill that would ban public-sector employees from wearing religious symbols. Should a government be allowed to require its employees to violate their religious beliefs?secularism, religion, government ban, atheism, religious symbols, public sector employees, Muslim, Christian, Islam, turban, burqa, Catholicism, discrimination, islamophobia, minority rights, neutrality, equality, religious belief, religious freedom
2013-2014National14Overbearing MamabearSpecial software allows parents to monitor their children's social media accounts and web searches. Some see this technology as intrusive, while others feel they protect children. Are parental monitoring apps morally permissible?technology, privacy vs. safety, parents, family, kids, spying, cell phone, teenagers, cyber predators, parental rights, bullying, trust
2013-2014National15Head TransplantMedical advancements have made head transplantation surgery seem possible. The body of a brain-dead patient could be attached to the head of those with advanced cancer. Some worry that vulnerable young people could be farmed for their bodies. Is this surgery morally permissible?bioethics, science, technology, identity, brain surgery, wealth, exploitation, organ donation, donor body, hybrid person, chimera, personhood
2012-2013Regional1Red Cross and the TalibanThe Red Cross was criticized for providing medical aid to Taliban fighters, but responded by stressing the importance of their neutrality. Should the Red Cross be allowed to provide first aid training to armed insurgents? Is neutrality in conflicts always a morally permissible option?neutrality, medical aid, war, NGO, non-profit, hospital, impartial organization, terrorism
2012-2013Regional2Facebook in HiringSome employers request access to an applicant's Facebook account to conduct a "virtual character check." To what extent is it morally permissible for employers to invade a potential employee's privacy to hire ideal candidates?invasion of privacy, rights of private employers, hiring practices, social media, background check, business rights, job
2012-2013Regional3Enhancing Academic Performance via Prescription MedicationsUnder what conditions, if any, is it morally permissible to consume prescription drugs to increase academic performance?drugs, steroids, Adderall, Ritalin, high school, standardized testing, SAT, ADD, ADHD, college students, black market
2012-2013Regional4"Charlie Hustle"Pete Rose was a baseball player and manager who holds many MLB records. However, he was ruled ineligible for the MLB Hall of Fame because he bet on games while being a manager. Rose has asked this ruling to be revoked and argued that players who gamble are not as morally culpable as those who use steroids.sports, cheating, performance-enhancing drugs, steroids, gambling, doping, baseball, athletes, awards, recognition, ban
2012-2013Regional5Title IX and Female AthletesTitle IX has allowed females to be on their school's baseball, football, and wrestling teams. Due to religious principles, a Catholic high school forfeited a championship game rather than face a team with a female athlete. Is it okay to ignore a group's religious beliefs in order to promote equality?religion, contact vs. non-contact sports, fairness, religious freedom, coed sports
2012-2013Regional6SAT DebateAlthough studies have shown a strong correlation between SAT scores and first-year college GPA, research has also linked higher family income to high SAT scores. Should SAT scores be required for admission to public universities?college admissions, high school, standardized testing, race, income, inequality, wealth, level playing field, SAT, ACT
2012-2013Regional7Academic IntegrityMany American students think of cheating as a normal, if not acceptable, means to an end. What constitutes cheating- should students be allowed to collaborate on homework assignments? Under what conditions, if any, is cheating morally permissible?culture of cheating, technology, social media, virtual cheating, collaboration
2012-2013Regional8Texas History TextbooksTexas' new history curriculum waters down the teachings of the civil rights movement, slavery, the US' relationship with the UN, and more. Is it morally acceptable for policymakers to select a curriculum that reinforces their own ideology? How should we select which events in history to include?education, partisanship, ideology, cultural and political knowledge, teaching, political bias, propaganda, brainwashing
2012-2013Regional9Jail Strip SearchThe Supreme Court ruled that jail strip searches are now legal regardless of the offense and individual has been arrested for. How should the need for jailhouse safety be balanced with an individual's right to privacy?unlawful search, fourth amendment, privacy rights, strip searches, security, crime, nonviolent offenders, "Florence vs. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington"
2012-2013Regional10Confidentiality in Juvenile CasesIdentities of juvenile offenders are often kept secret, even in case of sexual assault. After Savannah was raped, her attackers took a plea bargain she felt was too light and she was ordered to not publicly name her attackers. Did Savannah behave ethically when she later defied the court order and released her attackers' names?privacy, rape, sexual assault, crime, victim, juvenile offenders, under-reporting, criminal justice
2012-2013Regional11Racial Justice Act (RJA)In 2009, NC passed the RJA, allowing those sentenced to death to present evidence of racial bias in their cases to have their sentences reduced to life without parole. NC overturned the RJA in 2012, stating that overall patterns are not indicative of racial bias in any one case.criminal justice, racial discrimination, systematic racism, death penalty, use of statistics, race, proving racial bias
2012-2013Regional12Polar BearsIs increasing the number of polar bear exhibits in zoos an ethical way to attempt to save them?zoos, conservation, endangered species, animal rights, extinction, captive breeding, global warming
2012-2013Regional13Off-Shore DrillingShould off-shore drilling be more restricted because of potential effects of an oil spill, no matter how unlikely such a spill may be? Should oil companies have to prepare infrastructure for onshore oil cleanup?environmental activism, oil spill, Deepwater Horizon, Shell
2012-2013Regional14LifesaversA beach lifeguard was fired for going to help a drowning man in an unprotected "swim at your own risk" zone. Should company policy forbid lifeguards from helping people outside of designated company areas?lifeguard duty, swimming, liability, emergency situation, obligation to help, save life
2012-2013Regional15Health and Human Services MandateThe US government requires that insurance providers cover sterilization, abortion, and contraceptives. The mandate exempts churches and religious organizations, but not church-affiliated nonprofits. Is this moral or immoral?contraception, birth control, Obamacare, religious freedom, insurance, religion, unborn, government, women's health, bodily autonomy, employee rights, institutional morality, health care
2012-2013National1Open Markets for OrgansSome have suggested allowing healthy individuals to be legally allowed to sell their organs to stop people on the transplant list from dying due to organ shortages. Opponents point to the possibility of wealthy patients harvesting organs of the young and poor.bioethics, organ donation, kidney, organ donor, money, wealthy, transplant, free market
2012-2013National2Smoking on the ShoreThe Carolina Beach town council banned smoking on the town's beach. Supporters of the ban cited environmental, health, and aesthetic concerns. Opponents cite economic concerns and claim the ban intrudes on personal rights.smoking, health hazards, government regulation, law, personal rights, individual liberty, freedom, bans, tobacco
2012-2013National3Stand Your GroundThe Texas "Stand Your Ground" laws allow deadly force in cases of self-defense and don't require individuals to try to retreat from danger prior to "protecting" themselves. Legal protection for self-defense homicides increased the number of self-defense homicides, murder, and manslaughter. Are these laws ethical? deadly force, law, self-defense, danger, protection, harm, guns, shooting, vigilante justice, justifiable killings, Texas
2012-2013National4Creative SentencingSome judges have given criminals non-traditional punishments that involve public shaming. Supporters claim public punishments deter others from committing crimes while opponents point to the longstanding defamatory effects of public shaming.criminal justice, public punishment, defamation, ridicule, shame, cruel and unusual punishment, sentencing, role of punishment, rehabilitation
2012-2013National5Unmanned Drone AttacksAfter the Obama Administration was criticized for use of unmanned drone strikes that killed 3 US citizens in Yemen, they argued that when a high-level official decides a citizen poses an imminent threat of violence, the US may legally kill the citizen without any trial. Opponents argue this violates the right to due process.war, targeted killing, judicial process, unilateral power, lethal force, terrorism, Fifth amendment, sixth amendment, threat assessment, due process, national rights, national security
2012-2013National6DREAM ActThe DREAM Act allows undocumented immigrants who were brought in as children to apply for work authorization and not be deported for 2 years. Opponents argue it is morally wrong to forgive those who have broken the law, while supporters argue it is wrong to deport those who came to the US through no fault of their own. immigration, forgiveness, illegal immigrants, deportation, deferred action, DACA
2012-2013National7Newly Public ArtMedia sites published trivial but private details and paintings from the President Bush's email accounts that were submitted by a hacker. Some believe the innocent nature of the material wasn't worth publishing and intruded on the family's privacy.privacy, freedom of the press, hacking, Guccifer, civility, national security breach
2012-2013National8Eminent DomainAn affordable-housing complex that houses 1000 low-income residents has safety and structural problems. It was purchased by a company that turns it into a luxury apartment building and raises rent. The town mayor stated he wanted to use eminent domain to take the property and convert it to public housing, which the company claims is an abuse of power.gentrification, abuse of power, private property, rent, affordable housing, low-income residents, poverty, public housing
2012-2013National9Don't Touch My PhoneThere are now apps that allow people to track their friends' locations and intercept their text messages. People have used them to track their cheating spouses and make sure their children are not engaging in objectionable behavior.privacy, technology, safety, social media, spying
2012-2013National10Pay for PlayGiven the discrepancy between lack of income for college athletes and the revenue generated for their universities, should college athletes be paid?college athletics, sports, exploitation, role of university, NCAA, paying college athletes, education, stipend
2012-2013National11Who Pays for Climate Change?The countries that emit the most carbon dioxide catalyze climate change while countries that emit the least amount bear its consequences most. Peter Singer proposed that each nation has a right to produce CO2 up to a certain amount and countries that pollute below the limit can sell their emission rights to countries that produce more.global warming, environment, pollution, cap-and-trade, national rights, national responsibility, global justice
2012-2013National12Conjoined Twin SeparationOne conjoined twin (Jodie) was born anatomically sound while the other (Mary) had severe abnormalities. Doctors determined that both twins would die if kept together, but Mary would die and Jodie would survive if surgically separated. The parents, devout Catholics, opposed separating the twins but the court ruled against them and ordered the twins be separated.bioethics, modern medical technology, religion, Catholicism, death, human life, law, family, parental wishes, faith, killing vs. letting die
2012-2013National13Go Fish!Proponents of corporate campaign financing argue that corporations have the right to support the candidate of their choice. Critics argue this system allows for corruption. Is allowing continued private funding viable?campaign finance, super PAC, political action committees, rights of corporations, politics, role of money in politics